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Can the GOP balance budget in less than 10 years?

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House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) said Monday that he's hoping to put forward a plan that balances the federal budget in less than 10 years, accelerating the plans put forward in recent years that would balance the budget in a decade.

"We will lay out a budget this year that will come to balance… within a 10 year period of time," Price said in a speech at Heritage Action. "I hope it's shorter than that, and I'm excited with the new members that we have on the Budget Committee… and we're going to challenge them to find those new ideas and to come up with those creative solutions so that we can get to balance in a shorter period of time."

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) said Monday he is pushing for a budget plan that balances the budget in less than 10 years.
Image: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File

The House GOP's plan last year, put forward by former chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), balanced the budget in 10 years not by cutting spending, but by limiting federal spending to about 19 or 20 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. In recent years, spending has been well north of 20 percent.

Those plans met with stiff resistance from Democrats, who charged that Ryan's plan would cut more than $5 trillion in federal spending, and hurt the poor and middle class families who depend on the government.

Price indicated his plan would operate the same way, as he highlighted the need for the U.S. to grow its way out of its debt and deficits, instead of by making actual cuts to the government.

"You can grow the economy, and that's where we hope to put our major efforts at the Budget Committee," he said.

He said the other two options are raising taxes, something Democrats want, and cutting spending, something with which Republicans have had some success in the discretionary spending area. Many of those discretionary budget items have fallen over the last two years.

"To be honest with you, the House has done a pretty doggone good job of holding down the spending that it has been available to it on the discretionary side, the non-automatic side," Price said.

But Price also said he agrees that federal spending remains the real problem. Federal revenues hit a record high $3 trillion in fiscal year 2014, yet the budget deficit is still about $500 billion and is expected to climb.

"If you've got that kind of debt and growing debt, and those kinds of deficits, and you have those kinds of revenue numbers, increasing absolute numbers coming into the federal government, the problem isn't revenue," Price said. "The problem is spending."

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